Table of Contents
Keeping your hip muscles and joints healthy and strong by performing hip abduction exercises will help address common issues such as low back pain, knee pain and even improve your posture.
Weak hip abductor muscles are usually the result of sitting for large parts of the day
Recommended Reading – Hip Abduction vs Adduction Machine : 3 Conclusive Benefits
This can lead to weakened glute muscles and reduce your range of motion at the hip joint making everyday activities more difficult whilst putting you at a greater risk of injury.
In this article we’ll suggest some of the best hip abductor exercises you can add into your workout routine. Best of all, these can be done either in the gym or the comfort of your home and all you need is a resistance band.
Before that, let’s look at what your hip abductors do and why it’s important to keep them strong.
What Do Hip Abductors Do?
Your hip abductors are a group of muscles located on the outer thigh.
These muscle groups comprise of the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and the tensor fasciae latae.
Collectively, these primary muscles work together to perform leg abduction.
That is to move your leg outwards and away from the midline of your body.
This would include movements such as stepping to the side, performing exercises such as the side lunge and also stepping in and out of a vehicle.
Strong abductors could result in the following benefits:
- Better develop the glutes improving their shape.
- Improve knee valgus (this is when the knee joint tends to cave in)
- Decrease lower back, hip and knee pain.
- Improve mobility and stability to the lower body.
- Increase range of motion.
- Improve athletic performance.
- Improve posture and balance.
Abductor Exercises with Bands
Strengthen weak hip abductors by adding in some of the below exercises into your exercise program.
Before starting, you’ll need to get your hands on a specific type of resistance band known as the loop band or glute band.
Bands usually come in a range of colors to indicate their level of resistance.
Be sure to choose the best one based on your current strength levels. When the exercises start to become easy, you can make them more challenging by using a band with higher levels of tension.
Lateral Band Walk
- Position your band around your legs so it sits just above your knees.
- Your toes should be pointing forwards and feet hip width apart.
- From here, adopt a partial squat by pushing your glutes back a little.
- Now take a step to the side whilst maintaining the partial squat and keeping your head and chest up.
- Keep your toes pointing forwards at all times and don’t allow your knees to collapse inwards.
- Step to the side as many times as you can, before stepping to the other side.
Seated Hip Abduction
- Take a seat on the edge of chair and place your band around your legs so it’s above the knees.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor and just apart. This is your starting position.
- Drive your knees away from each going as far as you can.
- Keeping moving continuously so that you feel the burn.
- You can make this exercise easier by placing the band closer to your hips.
- Complete as many repetitions as possible for 3 sets.
Standing Band Hip Abduction
- Start with the band positioned so it’s just above your ankles.
- Maintain a standing position with feet hip width apart and rest your hands on your hips for stability.
- Slowly raise your right leg up and out to the side. Go as high as is comfortable before lowering back down.
- Repeat 3 times for 10 reps and then switch to the left leg.
- Begin by sitting in front of your couch or something of a similar height that can support your upper back.
- Place the band around your legs and place it just above the knees.
- Keep your feet flat on the ground and hip width apart. Your ankles should be directly under your knees.
- From here, position yourself so that your upper back rests on the couch keeping your feet on the ground.
- Now begin to push your hips up towards the ceiling squeezing the glutes as you go.
- Complete 10 to 12 reps for 3 sets.
Fire Hydrant with Resistance Band
- Start with your band so it’s positioned just above your knees.
- Get into a tabletop position (on all fours) ideally on an exercise mat.
- Your hands should be under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Keeping your back neutral, slowly take your left leg out to the side.
- Don’t take your leg above parallel to the floor.
- Complete 2 sets of 10 reps and then switch to the other leg.
Banded Side Leg Raises
- Start with the band just above your knees and lie down on your side.
- Place one leg on top the other and bend the knee of the bottom leg so that it’s at a 90 degree angle.
- Rest your head on your hand for support.
- Take your top leg, which is still outstretched, and raise it straight up going as high as possible.
- Complete 10 repetitions and perform 2 to 3 sets.
- Then switch sides and do the same numbers with the other leg.
Isometric Squat with Hip Abduction
- Place your resistance band so it sits just above your knees.
- Width a hip width stance, push your glutes and hips back so squat down.
- The tops of your legs should be just above parallel to the ground.
- Clasp your hands together at chest height to give you some stability.
- Keeping your head and chest up, push your knees outwards to increase resistance on the band.
- If you find it hard to maintain an isometric squat, you could rest your back against a wall for support.
- Complete 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.
Side Plank with Hip Abduction
- Lie down on your side with the band positioned just above the knees. One leg should be stacked on top the other.
- Push your hips up off the ground to form a side plank position.
- Your body should be aligned from your head to your ankles.
- Lift your top leg up towards the ceiling, keeping it straight throughout.
- Perform between 8 to 10 reps for 2 sets on either side.
- Begin by lying on your side on the floor with your head being supported by your lower arm.
- Place your free hand on the ground in front of you to give you some support.
- Your legs should be stacked with knees bent to around a 90 degree angle.
- From here, raise your upper knee by rotating your hip outwards, going as high as you can.
- Your feet should remain together throughout the movement.
- Complete 10 repetitions for 2 sets and then work the other side.
The above exercises don’t all need to be performed together on the same day but by incorporating a few into your week will get you on the right path to improving strength and stability to your hip abductors.
For best results combine them with adductor exercises to target the hip adductor muscles. These muscles are located on your inner thigh and by working all of them, you can prevent any muscle imbalances.